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February 13, 2017 09:57 AM UTC

Sen. Ray Scott/Grand Junction Sentinel Pissing Match Explodes

  • 15 Comments
  • by: Colorado Pols

UPDATE: Bring it, says Sen. Ray Scott:

—–

Don’t f— with Jay Seaton.

We wrote on Friday about Sen. Ray Scott of Grand Junction’s over-the-top response to an editorial in the Grand Junction Sentinel–an editorial calling out Sen. Scott for inexplicably delaying debate on a bill to reform the public records process. Scott reacted with a bizarre tirade, denouncing the Sentinel as “fake news” and some other weird stuff about splashing ink in their face.

It wasn’t super coherent.

But Jay Seaton, the owner and publisher of the Sentinel, is responding to Scott’s bellicosity with the full hellish fury of a rich man scorned:

On Wednesday of last week, The Daily Sentinel opined in an editorial that Sen. Scott should give the bill a hearing and pass it on to the full Senate for a vote: “SB 40 deserves a fair hearing before the full Senate. We call on our own Sen. Scott to announce a new committee hearing date and move this bill forward.”

…Setting aside for the moment the mischaracterizations and mistakes in Sen. Scott’s tweet, (though it is true we were not able to reach him about why he canceled the hearing) the concern for me is the allegation that the Sentinel peddles “fake news.”

True, this term has become part of the national vernacular as some kind of general pejorative, but I take this allegation from Sen. Scott very seriously. It attacks the very reason for our existence…

It is important for newspapers to have thick skins, to absorb criticism when it comes our way and not respond to every slight, real or perceived. That said, there is a difference between criticism of a news story, editorial stance or perceived bias and what Sen. Scott has done. His tweet is patently, provably false.

Worse, he made his false statement knowingly for the purpose of diminishing the only real asset this newspaper has: its credibility.

Imagine the backlash if this newspaper publicly assailed someone based on no facts and invented things out of thin air for the purposes of impugning their character. We could be sued — and we’d deserve it.

I don’t think I can sit back and take this kind of attack from an elected official. We are brokers in facts. Words have real meaning in this business. Sen. Scott has defamed this company and me as its leader.

To borrow a phrase from another famous Twitter user, I’ll see you in court. [Pols emphasis]

So…if we’re reading that correctly, Seaton is going to sue Sen. Scott to defamation? It’s not for us to comment on the legal efficacy of such a lawsuit based on the subject matter in dispute, but we’re pretty sure Jay Seaton has a lot more money than Ray Scott. As President-elect Donald Trump will happily tell you, the financial resources to file and sustain a lawsuit against a less-wealthy detractor often matters more.

Pop some popcorn and stay tuned!

Comments

15 thoughts on “Sen. Ray Scott/Grand Junction Sentinel Pissing Match Explodes

      1. …and, he seems to be getting fed up with some of the morons Ray Scott represents and feeds upon. Jay is a decent man. Though we are ideologically far apart, I believe he is a sincere publisher and journalist.

        Ray Scott, on the other hand, is a toady to O&G, Club 20, Big Coal, ….well, just Big Money in general. It is good that he gets direction, though. Having heard him speak several times, he needs a script. Without guidance from his O&G handlers, it seems difficult for him to rub two sentences together to make a thought.

        To be fair, though, he may be inordinately bright. I just haven't seen any evidence of that…smiley

        1. Duke, were you around in 2012, when Seaton unabashedly used the full force of the Sentinel in retaliation against the late Paul Brown, when Brown was Mesa County Public Trustee?  I see nothing about that that was "journalism". If you say he's a decent man, I believe you.  

          But you reap what you sow, and playing politics on the conservatives' side for as long as Seaton has has been part of what created the attitude the GOP is now taking.  Even the Sentinel isn't loyal enough for them.   

           

            1. A good and honest man, from what I knew of him. who did not deserve the horrible treatment the Sentinel gave him.  It was petty and vindictive.  But there's no love lost between Jay Seaton and myself, even though I respect your opinion of the man.  Hopefully, he's grown beyond that behavior. 

              1. Don't get me wrong, Curmie. I am not a fan of Seaton nor his paper. I haven't bought and only seldom read a Daily Sentinel in years.

                Here, his decency and sincerity I contrast only to Ray Scott. At least he takes his job seriously.What he did to Paul was, indeed, a very cheap shot.

                I first worked with Paul in 1976…there was no more well-liked and universally respected man in these parts. Our government could use far fewer Ray Scotts and a bunch more Paul Browns. 

      2. It is very hard to libel a public figure, which Seaton and the Sentinal obviously are.  But he can tell the paper boy to throw the damn thing on the roof of the porch!

  1. This story was picked up by Forbes and the Huffington Post. Seaton is both a rich man and an attorney and just put his newspaper on the map. I disagree with Duke about Seaton's politics. He runs a newspaper in a very conservative town, and needs advertising, so he walks a very fine line, but since taking over ownership of the Sentinel he has been moving it from the extreme right to the middle. I believe Seaton's personal politics are pretty liberal. That belief comes from seeing his private E-mails to a friend. As the last person to run against Ray Scott, I was delighted to see this dust-up, and I believe Seaton WILL go to court. He may not win, but that doesn't matter much–he'll be exposing Scott for the toad that he is. 

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